Peripheral IV Cannulation: A Step-by-Step Guide

Peripheral IV cannulation is a commonly performed medical procedure used to introduce an intravenous catheter into a patient’s peripheral vein. It is an essential skill for healthcare professionals, allowing for the administration of fluids, medications, blood products, and other intravenous treatments. In this video blog, you will find a detailed step-by-step guide on how to perform peripheral IV cannulation effectively.


Peripheral IV cannulation is the process of inserting a thin plastic catheter into a peripheral vein in the hand, arm, or leg. This catheter can remain in place for a few hours to several days, providing a reliable route for medication and fluid administration. Successful cannulation requires proper techniques, knowledge of anatomy, and proficiency in handling medical equipment.

Step 1: Gathering Equipment

The first step in peripheral IV cannulation is gathering all the necessary equipment. This typically includes:

  • Gloves
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Tourniquet
  • IV catheter
  • Sterile dressing
  • Transparent adhesive tape

Ensuring that all equipment is readily available and properly sterilized is essential to maintain aseptic technique during the procedure.

Step 2: Patient Preparation

Before starting the procedure, it is crucial to explain the process to the patient, addressing any concerns or questions they may have. Ensure the patient’s consent is obtained prior to proceeding. Adhering to infection control guidelines, clean the patient’s skin surrounding the selected vein with an alcohol swab.

Step 3: Vein Selection

Identify a suitable vein for cannulation. Most commonly, the veins of the forearm and the back of the hand are used. The selected vein should be visible, palpable, and free from signs of thrombosis or infiltration. Apply a tourniquet proximal to the cannulation site to help visualize and access the vein.

Step 4: Cannulation

Once the vein is visible, cleanse the area with an alcohol swab and allow it to dry. Put on a pair of sterile gloves to reduce the risk of infection. Hold the catheter at a shallow angle (10-30 degrees) to the skin, with the bevel facing up. Insert the catheter smoothly through the skin and into the vein until a flashback of blood is observed. Advance the catheter a few millimeters further into the vein, then slowly withdraw the needle while applying gentle pressure to immobilize the catheter.

Step 5: Securing the Catheter and Dressing

Secure the catheter in place using a transparent adhesive dressing and ensure the dressing covers the entire insertion site. Avoid excessive tightness that may impede blood circulation. Label the dressing with the date, time, and necessary information. Explain to the patient how to care for the cannula and what symptoms to look out for.


Peripheral IV cannulation is a crucial skill for healthcare professionals, enabling the reliable administration of intravenous therapies. By following this step-by-step guide, you now have a clear understanding of how to perform peripheral IV cannulation. Remember, practice and experience play vital roles in mastering this procedure, so continue to refine your technique through supervised practical training.

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